Bollywood retro at its hilarious best!

Everyone celebrates the finest films, the soaring highs and the best works of an artist of cinema. But there’s something inexplicably attractive about its trippy exaggerations and unabashed absurdities that may appear terrible at the time of release but amusing in hindsight.

Likewise, some of our most beloved imagery doesn’t always last the test of time and changing aesthetics making it harder for us to see what made us appreciate such cheesiness in the first place.

Irrespective of which side the coin falls, the upshot of retro is, by and large, funny.

One of my favourite things is to mine for such outlandish Bollywood history. It’s an endless treasure out there.  Meanwhile, here are my ten handpicked retro gems just for you.

amrish puri iraadaAmrish Skywalker!
Wonder what George Lucas would have to say about one of Bollywood’s greatest villains channelling Star Wars antagonist Darth Vader with that light saber in hand from a little known film named Iraada?

Can you imagine the Amrish Puri saying something to the effect “Main tumhara baap hoon, Lakhan” in that monumental baritone? Bet that’s a sick twist even Subhash Ghai didn’t see coming.

raaj kumar dil-ka-rajaJaani bana Jeetu and, er, John Abraham!
Known to let his words speak louder than his action, Raaj Kumar contradicts his legendary reputation by flaunting his, um, physique (?) at every given chance in Dil Ka Raja, where he plays a double role.

Following his sun ‘n’ sand rendezvous with Leela Chandavarkar (24 years his junior) that could put Karan Johar’s Dostana to shame (interestingly Dil Ka Raja was released in the same year KJo was born –1972), the duo breaks into a Jeetendra-inspired jig to tickle the audience.  Traumatise is more like it.

Maut Ki Express, Madam X
If you thought Shah Rukh Khan took tooooooooo long to die in Shakti: The Power, you HAVE to see the you-might-get-a-heart-attack-laughing hilarious Rekha vehicle, Madam X.  Rekha 1 fires more than twenty bullets in Rekha 2’s gut but the latter doesn’t kick the bucket until she’s recited her character’s catchphrase, “Hum hain maut ki woh Express. Duniya jisse kehti hai Madam X.

It takes special skill to conceal all that amazing talent and ham like a possessed woman in a film where she dresses up like a Russian Czarina meets Diwali kandeel.

rekha-madam-xSpare a thought for the detailing, please. Good Rekha sports a peacock motif on her costume while evil Rekha dons a furious Dragon.

Ab Tak Bees!
asha-parekh-sajan
I’ve taken every single appearance of Asha Parekh in the 1969 romance, Sajan co-starring Manoj Kumar to study the journey of a typical heroine in our movies.

Single, confused, coy, irritated, two solo dances, demure, sentimental, seductive, girl-next-door, melodramatic, guilty, sacrificing, married—the end.

And if that wasn’t laborious enough just look at the effort the pretty yesteryear star put in her twenty different hairdos.

gaai aur goriMoo!
When someone said, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” they probably were reacting to the poster of Gaai Aur Gori.

Gaze, grasp and guffaw.

How to die like a sex symbol!
100 Days is quite a fun watch even after learning the suspense. Here’s why.

So Jackie Shroff points the revolver at Moon Moon Sen’s face in a bid to threaten her even as she keeps wailing something about him being a traitor of the nation in a typically Moon Moon tone. Though he’s directed the gun at her head, the bullet goes off and lands in her tummy. (Yes, yes, he didn’t shoot her, the blue-eyed baddie at the back did.)

What’s seriously comical is:

A) Moon Moon Sen’s worst reaction ever after being shot. She simply throws her hands at the back and lets out an orgasmic aaaaaaah.

100-daysB) And any logically hurt human being’s impulsive reaction will be to grab the wounded spot instead of stretching like a just woken up Yash Chopra heroine in her introduction scene.

Patti-waale shayar!

There’s a reason why we address our actors as “hero.”

anil kapoor tezaabDude jumped off the terrace of a multistoried building to prove his love to Madhuri Dixit in Tezaab.  And before the lady could sing Ek, Do, Teen, Anil Kapoor’s already posing like Kate Winslet in Titanic wearing his bandage like an ‘Heart of the Ocean’ necklace.

How jhakaaas is that?

Bushy Charisma!
And the Anil Kapoor award for Eyebrows of 1991 goes to Karisma Kapoor in Prem Qaidi.

jaya pradha singhasanToday, of course, the actress is a picture of sleek sophistication but there was a time her profuse brows took up more screen space than co-star Harish.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown!
Put on those dark shades unless you want to be blinded by bling.

If Bappi Lahiri ever started a jewellery line, Jaya Pradha in Singhasan would make an excellent brand ambassador, what say you? (Interestingly, he composed the songs of this 1986 Padamalaya production.)

3 Idiots

jangal-main-mangalBack in 1972, a 50-something Pran teamed up with newbies Kiran Kumar and Narendra Nath to play a college student in the youth caper, Jangal Mein Mangal.

Aamir Khan’s 40 something engineering genius in 3 Idiots doesn’t seem all that improbable now, does it?

While Pran had already acquired the reputation of the classic villain, Kiran Kumar and Narendra Nath would go on to make a career playing spiteful characters on the big screen.

This article was first published on rediff.com

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